The number of babies exposed to illicit drugs during pregnancy in Newfoundland and Labrador nearly tripled over the past five years, increasing from 11 infants in 2012 to 29 newborns in 2017. Provincial statistics show the number of newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome, who need to be weened off drug dependencies with morphine, has also grown. About 4,500 babies are born in Newfoundland and Labrador annually, which means last year about 90 mothers self-reported using drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, heroin, solvents and methadone while they were pregnant. The number of babies who test positive for illicit drugs at birth is lower than the number of mothers who self reported drug use because in some cases the use may have been earlier in the pregnancy, so the drugs would no longer show up in the newborn's system. Growing problem across CanadaThe Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) says 1,846 babies were admitted to Canadian hospitals between April 2016 and March 31, 2017 after their mothers used opioids during pregnancy.
Source: CBC News April 16, 2018 16:18 UTC